February 01, 2012

Update: Dog "Attack" in Michigan: - Official Press Release

UPDATE: The official facts:

Official press release from the Royal Oak MI City Attorney: (Text is condensed; Specific persons and locations have been masked for privacy.)

On Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011, a X resident approached a woman (a friend of a person in the owner's family) holding two Dobermans outside (a grocery store). He asked the woman if the dogs were friendly and she said they were. As he came closer to them, one of the dogs jumped up and bit him in the face. After getting immediate treatment from store employees, the man went to the emergency room at X Hospital for treatment. Hospital staff had determined that the bite had broken the man's nose.

The dog owner was issued two misdemeanor citations, one for dog bite and one for not having the dog licensed. Two pre-trial conferences were held in District court; the owner pled not guilty. A third is scheduled for Feb. 9.

The city is not seeking to have the dog destroyed. Under both state law and city ordinance, the city has the authority to file a petition in district court to require the owner to show cause why the dog should not be destroyed. The city has not filed a petition regarding a dangerous animal, and does not intend to file a petition in this case.

In the context of plea negotiations on the pending citations, the city is looking for the owner to take reasonable steps to minimize the chance that the dog will attack or bite anyone in the future.

Law and government gone awry?
According to a report at Examiner.com,, Royal Oak, Michigan town officials are allegedly threatening to destroy a family's 4-year-old Doberman for "attacking" a man when he received a broken nose. The family claims it was an accident that happened when the dog jumped up and the man bent down at the same time.

(And dog owners, who hasn't had that happen? I saw stars the other day when I bent down and my German Shepherd looked up, and her head hit me in the nose.)

(NOTE: See update below and official press release above; draw your own conclusions but the dog is safe.)

After writing a letter to the city commissioners, I was informed this is now a court matter. City commissioner Pat Capello wrote: "... I am told that Heidi is not deemed a dangerous animal and will not be punished for her actions, at least not by the City of Royal Oak. Heidi's owner and the "bitten" party can settle their dispute in court, and Heidi will be allowed to remain with her owner..."

* See the family's blog, Save Heidi.com for background and petition. The case will be decided on Feb. 9.

* See story
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